Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This will let us sleep soundly....hopefully

Last year we had the unpleasant experience to be waken at night by the resolute shouting of the skipper from the next boat in the anchoring field, because we were drifting towards their boat and already hitting it....It was a clear nightmare....Thank God no one was hurt and no damage was done neither to the other boat nor to Madita....we were not the only ones drifting that night when wind changed, but still we felt awful....
We were uncomfortable with our anchor before, but this set it: Either we get better gear or no anchoring anymore...

Today Wolfgang brought the "solution to all our problems" at home:
Our new 15 kg anchor with 8 meter of chain....The whole family inspected it and some first dry-test were done on it....
The principle of the Rocna Anchor is the hoop, which let it roll over in case the ground is hit by the wrong side. The weight distribution to the tip of the blade is crucial for rolling in the right position and safely digging into the ground....

The only question remaining: Will it fit in our anchor box at Madita's bow.....To be continued ;-)

Children's Art: Glue on Canvas

Well, we are still in the experimentation phase....

Following the idea of Jean Van't Hul the children draw with glue on paper and canvas board.
We had to let it dry completely overnight.

Today we painted with standard school watercolor on top of it...

Although I think we will get better results with a bit more practice, it is a wonderful experiment in many ways:

First of all, it is a good experience for the kids that a picture does not have to be done in one single go. The experience of preparing something one day and continue the other day let them relax a lot. They know it won't be done today anyway so why hurry....

Second, they have to do a bit of a planing ahead, thinking what part of the picture to cover so that it will be prevented from color.

Third, it is a wonderful effect the put the color over it, and suddenly see the outlines which were barely visible before....and to see where else they put their sticky fingers on ;-) be bit like  detective's work ;-)
Edit: Even more advantages come up to my mind: For instants the experience of drawing from "high" above the underground, not having support of the arm/hand by the table....

Some first results here. We definitely need to improve, try different colors and undergrounds and other masking media like tape or masking fluid, put it on previously colored paper etc....Friedrich thinks of doing a constellation chart this was....
A lot more to come from this direction :-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Children's Crafts: Craftstick weaving

With an ill child at home it is always good to have some simple stuff, which can be done in bed. 

Magdalena tried this yesterday and we are quite pleased that I found this wonderfully colored craftsticks in a local store.

She put two craftsticks across to each other and weaved wool in different colors around it just like it comes to her mind. 
A beautiful decoration for our cellar door :-)

Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Pulmonaria officinalis

Lungwort of the family Boraginaceae is native to Europe and eastern Asia. It grows in deciduous forests.

In former times Pulmonaria officinalis  it was used as medicinal herb against chest diseases and asthma.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Drift wood

We found some interesting drift wood at the beach this weekend.
Who may have nibbled all these neat holes into it?!?
We will never find out....
And Wolfgang refused it on board in worry, that the master-builder might still be inside and would make Madita look like this very piece.... Captains of ships built at least a fair part of wood can be very protective.....;-)


I love stones! And if I could I would gathering a lot more, but since I don't want Madita to sink I refrain....


This weekend I took some pictures of wood, bark and dead trees, because the surface has kind of an interesting structure to me....

Alder Leaf Beetle (Chrysomelidae)

This beetle and it's larvae prefer speckled alder.
In rare cases of massive occurrence of alder leaf beetle complete defoliation can be the consequence.....
This beetle is native to Euroe, Siberia, Kazakhstan and was introduced to the US in the 19th century.

Lichen and moss

The observation of lichen and moss always gives me the feeling as if there is a remote tiny world beyond our reach...

Sonderborg/Denmark 04/24-25/15

This weekend we had to realize that it is still quite early in the year: It simply was too cold, rainy, windy and foggy to go for a decent family sail trip. 
Nevertheless we had a wonderful weekend staying in Sonderborg, hiking in the woods and doing a lot of nature observation.....


This plant of the family Asparagaceae is native to West Europe and Northwest Africa.

It is a rare plant which is specially protected and grows in deciduous forest or shrubbery.

This picture was taken nearby the Sonderborg marina/Denmark.


Mahonia is an evergreen shrub belonging to the family Berberidaceae.

It is native to Asia, Himalaya, North America and Central America. 

Mahonia was named in honor of the Philadelphia horticulturist Bernard McMahon.
It is typically an ornamental plant. The blueback berries are edible and rich in Vitamin C, also of bitter flavor.

Stitchwort (Stellaria)

 Stellaria graminea

Stellaria media

This weekend we found two different kinds of Stellaria in the woods.

Stitchwort belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae and can be found all over the world but mostly in the temperate regions of the Norther Hemisphere.

They are a good food plant for moth larvae.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Children's Art: Painting Prompts

Yesterday we had like half an hour before dinner and I wanted to try out a new project, which I would love to use every now and than.

I prepared popsicle sticks in a glas jar. On each stick I wrote one word like Musik, Spring, Hot, Anger, Family, Ocean, Red, Chocolate.....

I ask the children to take one stick without previously looking on it.  After reading they should use this word as inspiration for painting.

Magdalena and Friedrich were eager to try this out.
Whereas Magdalena sticked to the one first word she took, Friedrich constantly helped himself to a new stick and painted everything on one piece of paper...

Both liked this a lot and I am sure we will repeat this.
The jar is openly accessible to them (as is all our art material...) and I am curious whether they are going to use this on their own as well....

Children Craft's: Nature prints

Once I saw this technique of printing nature structures in clay on Jean Van't Hul inspiring website The Artful Parent I know we have to try that out ourselves.

It was a fun project from the very beginning :-)
First we went for a walk in the neighborhood and collected plants we assumed to be suitable.

We used air drying  clay instead of sculpey, which worked perfect.

We first formed clay balls, put them on top of one leave or flower and pressed down with even pressure. Before lifting the pieces, we tried to smoothen the rims with a wet finger.

The result was so amazing, because even tiny details can be seen in the clay print. Some pollen stick to the clay giving some color to it, what is fine with us.
Some leaves appear dirtier than we realized before, but we simply washed them and tried again.

After the clay parts were dried, the children mounted them on a black wood panel.
I wrote the names under each piece using silver permanent marker to give it kind of a scientific outlook ;-)

It was so much fun we already think of what to print next....may be shells would work nicely as well.....we will keep you informed :-)

Please meet Audrey....

Maybe she is just a plant, but to the children she is almost a family member already, carefully fed and spoken to everyday :-)

Although her official name is Dionaea muscipula, we call her Audrey in homage to a certain plant staring in the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" :-))

Here it is.....

Finally I found one single red Magnolia in our neighborhood.

All the other red Magnolia trees I know of do not show blossoms this year.....may be of the very mild winter we had, or just by chance?
Anyway I am that at least this one shows it beautiful dark blossoms :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos)

The Bleeding Heart belongs to the poppy family and is native to Siberia, Northern China, Korea and Japan. Their normal habitat is light humid deciduous forests in the mountains.
It is a popular ornamental plant with pink and white flowers showing from April (in mild years) to June.

Juneberry (Amelanchier)

Ornamental tree native to the temperate regions of Northern Hemisphere.
Great diversity through out North America with at least one species native to each state of US except Hawaii and the Canadian provinces. Two species are known in Asia, one in Europe.

My dear friend Yao Tseng Chen found an interesting explanation why one common name is Serviceberry: In former times Juneberry was the first native tree in North America to blossom in spring at the time when the earth was than and the service on the graveyards could start again burying the death of the winter.

Beauty of the day

Each further day the magnolia are blossoming I enjoy their beauty, especially since I know for this year their time is almost over.
I like the haptic of the petals and the fine architecture of the inner blossom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Children's Art: Free paintings

Friedrich decided not to work on black but the usual white paper we have.
He made these three paintings yesterday in short time and I like them a lot, because they are so free and loose. And he named them immediately.

"Heavy weather"